President Obama inserted a few sentences on immigration in the State of the Union:
And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system, to secure our borders, and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.
In the end, it's our ideals, our values that built America, values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe, values that drive our citizens still.
Better than nothing, surely, but this does not send any sort of signal about it being a priority. Here is what the White House spokesman had to say in response to a reporter:
Q On the White House Web site, the Homeland Security Secretary said that there will be a push for comprehensive immigration reform this year. What's this going to look like?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I think one of the things the President will -- has talked about and one of the things you'll hear him mention tomorrow and in the coming days, similar to what I've said on cap and trade, and that is that if -- we've started a process on this and if Congress can put together the way forward, a coalition to get the way forward, then it's something we'll work through.
On the one hand, you could say that of course a congressional coalition must be assembled. Otherwise nothing would get passed. On the other, it also suggests that Obama is kicking the ball back to Congress rather than pushing for a coalition himself.
For years, I have been correctly pessimistic about the prospects for immigration reform, so it is becoming knee-jerk. Someday I hope actually to be wrong.